A MAN who was found dead at a Taunton homeless hostel died of a drug overdose, an inquest heard.

Mark Dickinson, 54, was found dead by staff on December 17 at Lindley House in East Reach, run by ARC formerly Taunton Association for the Homeless, with a syringe in his left arm.

At an inquest on Wednesday (May 8) senior coroner, Tony Williams, read a statement from Nicky Stanton, a support worker at Lindley House, who said she checked on Mr Dickinson on December 16 after a fire alarm sounded in the building.

Ms Stanton said she went to check on residents living in the 'crash pads' in the homeless hostel after the alarm sounded and when she approached Mr Dickinson's door it was locked but she asked if he was alright and he replied and said he was fine. The inquest heard she returned to the office at around 4.50pm and was not concerned about Mr Dickinson.

The coroner then read a statement from PC Joshua Archer who was called with PC Robert Dibble to Lindley House on December 17 following reports of a sudden death. PC Archer said he was introduced to Jan Park from Lindley House when he arrived at the scene and confirmed Mr Dickinson's body had been found behind the door in crash pad seven at the homeless hostel.

PC Archer conducted a search of Mr Dickinson's body and recovered a syringe which was stuck in his left arm along with some jewellery.

A post mortem report from pathologist Dr Male from Musgrove Park Hospital confirmed Mr Dickinson's cause of death was a drug overdose. A toxicology report revealed 293mcg of morphine was found in Mr Dickinson's blood and a drug named 6MAM was also found in his blood which indicated he had taken morphine or heroin before his death.

Amphetamines were also detected in Mr Dickinson's blood which the pathologist said were in 'excess' of levels of recreational drug use and alcohol was also present but it was not above the drink-drive limit.

The inquest then heard a statement from Mr Dickinson's GP Dr Norbury from St James Medical Centre who said the 54-year-old had a long history of opioid dependency.

Dr Norbury said Mr Dickinson had previously engaged with Somerset Drugs and Alcohol Service in a bid to tackle his problems but was suspended from the service for six months after he displayed anger towards staff.

Dr Norbury said Mr Dickinson moved into Lindley House in December 2018 and wanted to re-engage with Somerset Drugs and Alcohol Service in a bid to tackle his problems.

After recording a conclusion of death by drug overdose, Mr Williams, said: "Mark Dickinson voluntarily self administered drugs with no intention of ending his life."